Motorcycle accidents are, by far, some of the most devastating automobile accidents known to occur. This is primarily due to the lack of protection for the motorcyclist as compared to that offered by the cabin of a typical car or truck. The speed with which many motorcyclists operate their vehicles is also a distinguishing factor that intensifies the damages and injuries experienced by the biker following a collision.
Over the years, observations have shown that motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to experience a fatal collision than other drivers. To exercise the appropriate defensive driving techniques, you must be aware of the potential dangers facing you as your hop on your bike to hit the road to your next destination. Here is some crucial information concerning alarming statistics to be aware of posed by operating a motorcycle on U.S. roads.
Motorcycles on the Road
Things have not gotten easier for motorcyclists in the States. The vehicle has always been one wrought with risk, and those who choose this mode of transportation are well aware of and thoroughly trained to minimize this risk. Still, no matter how defensive of a driver you are, dangers are still ever-present as you cross out of your garage and onto public roadways. This is evidenced by the unfortunate worsening of death rates associated with the use of motorcycles over the last two decades. (The number of deaths of motorcycle riders and passengers has doubled in this time.)
These incidents are sadly indiscriminate. Estimates say that approximately 35% of fatalities associated with motorcycle collisions are individuals over the age of 50. Although younger demographics are not the only victims, there is a notable overrepresentation of these age groups (primarily ages 16-24) regarding motorcycle-related injuries and deaths. The most common age of a victim in these scenarios was about 42 years old as of 2015, and males – in all demographics – are much more likely to experience a motorcycle-related accident in their lifetime. This is because the vast majority (96%) of motorcycle drivers are males.
Still, the likelihood of you experiencing a car accident is not so much determined by who you are, but more related to your experience as the operator of such a vehicle. For example, more than half of those individuals involved in motorcycle accidents had only five months of experience on their bike – or less. Ninety-two percent of those afflicted by collisions while on their bikes claimed to have been self-taught or trained by family or friends. The lack of formal training contributes significantly to one’s chances of becoming the victim of a collision.
Staying Safe When Sharing the Road with a Motorcyclist
It can be scary to share the road with a motorcyclist, especially when they are splitting lanes and driving much faster than the flow of traffic. To keep yourself and bikers safe, follow the tips below:
- Add about 4 seconds to your following distance when driving behind a motorcycle.
- Check all your blind spots before passing a motorcyclist on the road.
- Give a motorcyclist a full lane when possible.
Driving alongside motorcyclists poses unique risks, both to the biker themselves and those they are sharing the road with. Remain aware of the present risks and follow these tips to keep everyone as safe as possible at all times.